Can you write a theatre review?

THE FATHER advertStageTalk Magazine is looking for reviewers for shows in Birmingham, Stratford Upon Avon, Worcester, Swindon, Stroud and other venues in the area.

You must have a keen interest in the theatre in general and be fairly knowledgeable – we like our reviewers to be able to do more than just describe the play. Have a look at some of our recent reviews and see how it is done. We don’t have a “house style” as such but we do like a bit of depth.

There is no payment of fee or expenses at the moment because StageTalk Magazine is not, as yet, generating any income. Birdsong PosterHowever, you’ll get a couple of best-seat Press Tickets, a free programme and, if you are lucky, a drink in the interval – and of course your name in print on a prestigious website which is often quoted by the theatres and producers we serve. You will probably be asked to write something once or twice a month and usually will be given plenty of notice.

We will want 400-500 words emailed to us in Word format by noon the day following the Press Night. Simple

If this appeals to you, please send a sample review of a play you have seen recently to info@stagetalkmagazine.com along with a very brief CV and we’ll take it from there.

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Here are a few books on the subject…

Kenneth Tynan (1927-1980) lived one of the most intriguing theatre lives of his century. A brilliant writer, critic and agent provocateur, he made friends or enemies of nearly every major actor, playwright, impresario and movie mogul of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He wrote for the “Evening Standard”, the “Observer”, and the “New Yorker”; served 11 years as dramaturge for Britain’s newly formed National Theatre, and spent his final years in Los Angeles. This biography, based on Tynan’s own archive, offers an appraisal of Tynan’s powerful contribution to post-war British theatre, set against the context of the fifties, sixties and seventies and his own turbulent life. Dominic Shellard probes beneath the celebrity myths surrounding Tynan to encounter the private man and theatre genius. He highlights Tynan’s writings of 1952-1963, when the coruscating young critic came to prominence. He discusses how Tynan took his place at the vanguard of the new realist movement, helped to establish subsidised theatre, fought censorship, and assisted in the creation of such groundbreaking theatrical events as “Oh Calcutta!” in 1970. The volume seeks to reveal both the public and private Tynan, an outspoken, explicit and sometimes savage critic who became one of the most influential theatre figures of the 20th century.

‘You have discovered a perishable treasure, and it is imperative to share it with other people before it fades… You have only one chance to get it right, while the impression is still fresh…’

If critics often disagree among themselves over the merits of a given work, this is nothing compared to the wider argument about what the critic’s role should be – Objective judge? Consumer guide? Provocateur? – and whether or not those practising criticism are living up to their duty to the ‘perishable treasures’ on which they pronounce.

In Theatre Criticism, first published in 1992, Irving Wardle sets out to define the credentials and aims of this vexed profession. Tracing its origins to Dryden and the Grub Street writers of Georgian London, Wardle goes on to examine the prejudices, questions and practices of modern reviewing, drawing on three decades’ worth of his own experience.